Wednesday, July 17th | 11 Tammuz 5784

October 13, 2021 12:10 pm

Article on German Antisemitism Ignores the Elephant in the Room

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avatar by Adam Levick


German police outside the synagogue in Hagen following a tip-off regarding a potential Islamist terror attack on Yom Kippur. Photo: Reuters/Roberto Pfeil/dpa

An article in The Independent on the rise of antisemitism in Germany by the Berlin-based journalist Erik Kirschbaum, did what so many media reports on anti-Jewish racism do — it focused entirely on the right-wing variety, whilst ignoring the far-left and Muslim variety.

The article (“How an antisemitic incident in Leipzig highlighted the chilling emergence of the far-right in Germany’s east,” Oct. 10) opened with a recent incident in Leipzig, where a luxury hotel manager reportedly told an Israeli-German singer, Gil Ofarim, to cover up his Star of David necklace if he wanted a room. The incident, readers were informed, “triggered a wider discussion about an alarming trend in recent years in which antisemitism has become socially acceptable in some circles in Germany.”

Kirschbaum attributes this disturbing phenomena to younger generations feeling “less burdened by the crimes of their grandparents,” “the insidious effects of Covid-19 conspiracy theories,” and increasing support for the far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party.

Regarding the latter dynamic, the writer uses the term “far-right” eight times in the context of explaining the country’s surge in antisemitism, both in reference to the general trend of Jew hatred and in noting a deadly 2019 attack on a synagogue.

Citing a more recent example, Kirschbaum recounts how, just this month, “fans of the Union Berlin football team shouted antisemitic insults at an Israeli team they were hosting during a match in Berlin.”

Kirschbaum was evidently unaware — or disinterested in reporting on — a series of antisemitic incidents in May that didn’t fit neatly into his narrative, as they were committed by largely Muslim anti-Israel activists. This included the chanting of murderous antisemitic slogans and attacks on German synagogues.

Here are some specific examples:

May 10

  • Duesseldorf, Germany: Vandals threw trash on a Holocaust monument dedicated to a synagogue that had been destroyed during Kristallnacht in 1938. And then they lit the trash on fire.

May 11

  • Muenster, Germany: 15 people gathered outside a synagogue and burned an Israeli flag.
  • Bonn, Germany: During an anti-Israel demonstration in front of a synagogue, stones were thrown at the synagogue’s glass entrance and an Israeli flag was burned.

May 12

  • Ulm, Germany: Posters with “Stop killing Innocents” and “Don’t forget your own story” were put in front of a synagogue.
  • Hannover, Germany: A man called a Jewish community center and said: “I will light up your synagogue. It will burn.”
  • Gelsenkirchen, Germany: About 200 people gathered near the synagogue there and chanted “F**k Jews.”
  • Hannover, Germany: Crowds chanted “Jews, the army of Mohammed is coming to get you” at an anti-Israel demonstration.
  • Berlin, Germany: A Jewish NGO — Jewish Forum for Democracy and Antisemitism (JFDA) — received threats, among them: “May God take revenge on you Jews for what you are doing to Palestine. Burn in hell for this.”

May 13

  • Mannheim, Germany: An unknown perpetrator tried to break a window at the synagogue in Mannheim.
  • Ulm, Germany: Three anti-Israeli banners were hung in front of the Jewish synagogue in Ulm. According to police, the handwritten statements referred to the current conflict in Israel.

May 15

  • Munster, German: At a pro-Palestinian demonstration, people chanted “O Jews, the army of Mohammed is returning.”
  • Frankfurt, Germany: At a pro-Palestinian demonstration, protesters moved “purposefully in the direction of a synagogue” and were stopped by the police. Signs with Holocaust comparisons such as ”Stop doing what Hitler did to you,” and signs calling for the destruction of Israel, e.g. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” were seen as well.
  • Berlin, Germany: “O Jews, Mohammed’s Army is returning” was chanted at a protest. The slogans “Stop doing what Hitler did to you” and “Yesterday Auschwitz, Today Palestine” were seen. Protesters also threw firecrackers at an Israeli journalist who was reporting on the protest and speaking in Hebrew.
  • Berlin, Germany: At a pro-Palestinian demonstration, three Jewish people were shouted at with “Go back to Israel, you child murderers, you are responsible for what is happening.”

May 21

May 22

  • Berlin, Germany: A visibly Jewish man was approached by three men and punched in the face.

Here’s the incident on May 12th, with Muslim demonstrators outside a synagogue shouting “F**k Jews.”

These incidents don’t occur in a vacuum; studies have shown that Muslims in Germany (and in other EU countries) are far likelier to hold antisemitic views than the general population.

One extensive report by noted German academic Mathias Berek found “widespread enmity towards Jews” by Muslims in the country. The report cited the following ADL statistics showing that Muslims in Germany are dramatically more likely than other Germans to hold classic antisemitic views:

In our experience, those in the media reporting on the problem of antisemitism generally fall into two categories — those willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and those unwilling to thoroughly pursue their investigation if it leads to politically inconvenient places. It seems clear, based on his complete obfuscation of Muslim antisemitism in Germany, that the Indy journalists falls in the latter camp.

Adam Levick serves co-editor of CAMERA UK , an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) — where a version of this article first appeared.

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